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Traffic signals return to Sullivan Street

Matthew Lane • Nov 24, 2017 at 10:24 AM

KINGSPORT — Traffic signals have returned to Sullivan Street at the intersection of Clay and Charlemont.

But they haven’t gone live just yet. That won’t take place until after the Thanksgiving weekend, city officials told the Times-News this week.

Kingsport removed the signals last year, saying they were unnecessary, and instead installed a raised pedestrian crosswalk. As a compromise, the city and First Baptist Church agreed to give the change six months from when the church opened its new wing. If the raised crosswalk did not meet the church’s safety needs, then a request could be made to bring the traffic signals back.

Earlier this year, FBC requested the signals be reinstalled over safety concerns about its elderly members crossing the street on Sundays and Wednesdays.

A few months ago, crews poured the concrete for the bases for the two mast arm poles, and since then the city has been waiting for the new poles to arrive. That took place last week and the poles were installed.

But if you drive down Sullivan Street today, all you’ll see are the signals flashing either yellow or red.

That’s on purpose, said Tim Elsea, traffic engineer for the city of Kingsport.

“The signals will be flashing for at least seven days. That’s a federal requirement to make sure everyone knows it’s live and about to become operational,” Elsea said. “We won’t go live until next week because of the holidays.”

The speed table at the intersection has been removed, and pedestrian poles are in place at the corners to better facilitate crossings.

Kingsport earmarked $150,000 in the budget for the project.

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